The job of chief executive is getting tougher as Hong Kong develops politically, and the best qualification for the job is to be able to put your whole heart into it, said Executive Council Convenor Ronald Arculli.
'Sometimes I say half-jokingly that it is better to be lucky than to be clever [as chief executive], but I think the most important thing is the heart,' Arculli said. 'You have to be earnest in your heart in order to succeed at what you do.'
Arculli said he was confident that chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying knows how government works after more than a decade as Exco convenor, but he suggested he might need to reflect on how different his new role will be.
'As a non-official Exco member, your role is advisory ... maybe it takes a day or a week to make judgments,' Arculli said. 'But when you sit down [as chief executive], you think of policies starting from scratch.'
He said his own career in public service over the past two decades has been worth the sacrifices and that he would continue in a public role if offered the chance.
'I am honoured to have had these opportunities,' he added.
Arculli was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1988, where he served for 12 years and was noted for serving on many bills committees scrutinising legislation. He joined the Executive Council in 2005 and was chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing for six years until April.
Looking back at the last 24 years in politics, Arculli said it was difficult to recall any sad moments. The happiest time was when he helped pass legislation to launch the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes in 2000. He left the legislature in the same year.
Legco has changed since then and some political pundits have argued that its quality has deteriorated - citing a 48.7 per cent dissatisfaction rate among Hongkongers at the end of last year.
But Arculli believes the changes were inevitable and suggested that it was the things that have not changed that count.
'The fact is that it [remains] the Legislative Council of Hong Kong,' he said. 'The game rules are open and fair. It serves the people and regulates the government.'